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in this, in his Melchisedec character, He may carry on all the affairs of his bloodbought Church? Is it not that we may ever present our poor wretched services? Even the cup of cold water-even the half-frozen petitions which have been offered in his name-and this identified with himself, to present them, that they may be accepted of the Father. Our great High-Priest has passed into the heavens, there to appear in the presence of God for us. "He ever liveth, to make intercession for us.' ." Shall we not join in the exclamation of the Apostle, "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died; yea, rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God." That place of favour and acceptance, sitting there as the slain and conquering Jesus; standing there as our great High-Priest, "Who also maketh intercession for us.'
And lastly, we view Him as walking in the midst of his seven golden candlesticks, which are the seven churches; and as He walks, holding in his right hand, that hand of power and safe keeping, seven stars, the angels (or ministers) of the seven churches.
Blessed thought this for ministers and congregations! The poor "earthern vessel," that brittle thing in which is deposited a rich treasure-even the light
of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. iv. 6, 7), is the peculiar charge (if we may so speak) of the blessed Lord Jesus. It is true, that all the Lord's people are m safe keeping-kept in the hollow of his hand! but He who knoweth our frame, knoweth that his ministering servants have their peculiar temptations and difficulties, and He graciously gives to them a special token of their security. He says He holds them in his " right hand;" and holding and upholding them thus, He causes them to throw their reflective light upon his golden candlesticks, and in the midst of these candlesicks He walks-guiding, directing, controlling all the affairs of his people, and giving to each worshipping and waiting congregation the very food, the very teaching, the very uplifting that they need. May we not well rest, and be at ease, when we have in faith said unto such a Lord and Saviour, "My times are in thy hand ?"
May the Lord give unto all his churches and people that precious eye of faith, which, piercing within the vail, shall see Jesus as He is; till we shall be constrained to acknowledge King hath brought me into his chambers," and to add, "We will rejoice, and be glad in thee.” ́ Amen.
THOUGHTS ON THE NEW YEAR.
But they have reach'd the heavenly goal,
For when the Saviour shall appear,
A crown in righteousness bestowed,
But we are on our pilgrim race,
And mercies close us round;
We little know what this short year
Deep hidden in thy mind alone,
But we can trust thee too.
Thou art thy people's" Hiding-place,"
In Thee they rest secure;
Tho' mountains may be carried hence,
M. E. L.
* The word appear, seems synonymous with stand. Compare Rom xiv. 10, and 2 Cor. iv, 10.
EXEMPLIFIED IN AN EXPOSITION OF THE SEVEN PARABLES CONTAINED IN THE THIRTEENTH CHAPTER OF ST. MATTHEW'S GOSPEL. (Continued from page 498, last Volume).
4. THE LEAVEN.
HAVING thus considered somewhat in |
1. From the fact, that only "three measures" of meal are spoken of, it may teach us that the true spiritual Church of Christ consists exclusively of the election of grace; a certain definite number chosen by sovereign and descriminating grace out of the mass of Adam's fallen
for the glory of God. Is evil permitted?
It hath been from all eternity the wisdom and purpose of Almighty God in the foreknowledge of Adam's fall, and the consequent mortal certainty of the utter ruin of his whole race (created in Him as their great federal head) to save a certain number thereof from the awful and eternal " curse and damnation" thus inherited, and, using the language of the 17th Article of the Church of England, "to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation as vessels made to honour." And in this wondrous purpose of redeeming love, two great ends are revealed to us as being present and operative, in the Divine mind: the one proximate, even the salvation of those objects of mercy; and the other supreme and ultimate; namely, His own glory to be manifested in their salvation. Hence, while St. Paul found it an eminent cause of devout thankfulness to God, that He had, "from the beginning, chosen the Thessalonian believers to salvation through sanctifica- But, further, this choice or election tion of the Spirit, and belief of the truth" we find from a collation of the various (2 Thess. ii. 13); he yet elsewhere ex- Scriptures which treat of it, has reference pressly asserts that the predestination of both to the means and the end it is not such is "according to the good pleasure only "through sanctification of the Spirit of his will, to the praise of the glory of and belief of the truth" (2 Thess. ii. 13.) his grace" (Eph. ì. 5, 6). "That we -" unto the adoption of children" (Eph. should be to the praise of his glory" i. 5)-to conformity to the image of his (verses 12, 14). And truly, beloved, Son" (Rom. viii. 29)—to "the sprinkthe glory of God should be our key to all ling of the blood of Jesus Christ" (1 the mysteries of creation, providence, Pet. i. 2)—but also to final and eternal and grace. Is the world created? it is "salvation" (2 Thess. ii. 13); according
to that memorable passage contained in to the Son, that as He received the 29th and 30th verses of the 8th chap- them, He wrote them down in his ter of Romans," For whom He did fore- counterpart of that book; and day by know, He also did predestinate to be day as he quickens them, does the Spirit conformed to the image of his Son, that reveal this wondrous truth to their souls, He might be the first-born among many and leads them to rejoice in the blessed brethren. Moreover, whom He did pre-assurance" that their names are written destinate, them He also called: and whom | in heaven." He called, them He also justified: and Reader, we shall not have learned this whom he justified, them He also glori- lesson well, unless we put to ourselves fied." Oh, how sweetly does that also the solemn question, Am I one of this link grace and glory together; so that blessed number? Think not it is a queshaving hold of the centre link of " call- tion which it is impossible to answer. ing," we may trace the chain of salvation There have been, aye, blessed be God back to " predestination" in eternity there are, men who in all humility, and past, and forward to " glorification in yet with all sincerity, without doubt and the world to come. And the sole and yet without presumption, can answer in absolute cause and spring of this election the affirmative. Are you one of the is plainly declared to be the sovereign elect? The question meets thee and degrace and favour of God. It is said, mands an answer. Upon the fact itself again, and again, to be "according to the depends thy eternal destiny, upon the good pleasure of his will". "not ac- knowledge of it depends thy present cording to our works, but according to peace. Oh let us give then, as St. Peter his own purpose and grace, which was exhorts us, "all diligence to make our given us in Christ Jesus before the world calling and election sure (2 Pet. i. 10). began" (Eph. i. 5, 9; 2 Tim. i. 9); We believe that days are coming when which absolute and Divine sovereignty nothing but the knowledge that we are St. Paul illustrates in the case of Jacob saved men will enable us to stand against and Esau, when "the children being not the storms of hell; and whether we live yet born, neither having done any good to see those days or not, it is at least or evil (that the purpose of God accord- certain that an hour is coming when noing to election might stand, not of works thing less can give peace to our departbut of him that calleth); it was said ing spirit, or render easy the pillow that unto her (Rebecca), The elder shall serve supports our dying head; but having it, the younger. As it is written, Jacob we shall not fail even in the dark valley have I loved but Esau have I hated" of the shadow of death, (Rom. ix. 11-13). trance shall be ministered unto us abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.'
Here, too, we may perceive the particular, individual operation of electing love; it is the election not of nations as of Israel, but of persons as of the Apostles of Christ; not to a salvable state, but to actual salvation; not of Jacob or Esau, but of Jacob and not Esau. That if there be any election, it is of certain particular persons as involved in the term itself; for what is "election" but the choosing of a smaller number out of a greater? And how are they to be chosen? If we have a thousand sovereigns before us, and wish to choose a hundred of them, is it not obvious that we must determine which hundred it shall be? But this truth is still more plainly and unmistakeably taught us in the fact that the names of these "favourites of heaven,' are declared to be "written in the book of life." Yes; so dear were they to the Father, that as He gave them one by one to the Son (John xvii. 9, &c.) He wrote down their name and number" in his eternal book; so precious were they
"For so an en
2. But again: inasmuch as the leaven was hidden only in the meal, the parable may teach us that it is to the Church alone that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. For what purpose and to what end, think you, beloved, is the Gospel to be preached to every creature? Is it, as the Arminian would have us believe, that every creature may believe it and be saved? If so, it is obvious that it fails in effecting its purpose-that it falls miserably short of the design and end of its Author. And whence can this failure arise but either from the illadaption of the instrument itself, or from want of power in him who uses it? If the former, it implies ignorance in its choice; if the latter, impotence in its employment; but as neither of these can, without blasphemy, be predicated of God, it follows that the salvation of all men is not that which he designed the Gospel to accomplish. Or is it, as so
many professedly "evangelical" writers | poor soul tortures itself in vain to underand preachers teach us, that by its re- stand--but that Christ has loved him jection it may become the occasion of with an everlasting love, and saved him greater damnation to the vast majority by an everlasting salvation, and that the of those who hear it? If this be its de- evidence of this is found in the very fact, sign, by what strange and bitter mockery that now with loving-kindness He has is it called "good news"-the Gospel? drawn him" (Jer. xxxi. 3). For surely to tell men in one breath that they cannot of themselves receive the Gospel, and yet that if they do not receive it, their eternal condemnation must be inconceivably aggravated, is at once the most astounding contradiction, and the most woeful tidings, that ever the wretched sons of Adam were called upon to hear. But no; widely different is the true nature of the Gospel. It is not a message, either of good or evil, to the world, it speaks only to the Church: and though, as we have already said, it bestows its alms, in the way of moral influence and providential mercies, upon the former; is its rich inheritance of salvation destined exclusively for the latter. As the leaven was hidden only in the meal prepared for it, so is the Gospel addressed only to those for whom its provisions are intended. It is indeed peace on earth, but only "to men of good will" (Luke iv. 14, Vulgate) It is "the glorious Gospel of Christ," but only to those "unto whom its light shines" (2 Cor. iv. 4). It is, like him of whom it testifies, "the power of God and the wisdom of God," but only "to them that are called" (1 Cor. i. 24). Yea, it is "the power of God unto salvation," but only "to every one that believeth" (Rom. i. 16). Nor does this high doctrine, though it may be called, in reality give any harsher character or narrower efficacy to the story of grace, than that which passes current with the great majority of professing Christians. The only real difference is, that while on our showing the Gospel leaves those who are unsaved by it, as regards their eternal destiny, where they were, on their's its result is to become a curse, and not a blessing. We exclude no human being from a participation in the blessings of the Gospel; for though we proclaim no general amnesty or indiscriminate jail-delivery, purchased for men at random by Christ, yet do we most fully and openly lift up Christ in all the glory of his Person, and all the completeness of his work, and our message to every soul of man that sees any beauty in Him, feels any desire after Him, and experiences any love towards Him, is not that he may be saved if he comes to Christ"-words which the
Hence the proclamation of the Gospel is not the statement of certain terms and conditions upon which the sinner will be accepted-it is not, as many .teach, the offer of salvation made to those who have not even the power to accept it—but it is a DIVINE TESTIMONY to all who can receive it, that they are saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation. It does not tell the poor sinner trembling, like Joshua, in his filthy garments, how he may obtain new raiment white and clean, but it says, I have clothed thee with the garments of salvation, and covered thee with the robe of righteousness" (Isa. lxi. 10; Ezek. xvi. 10-13). It does not say simply, "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins shall be forgiven thee;" it proclaims, "Son be of good cheer; thy sins ARE forgiven thee (Matt. ix. 2). It does not merely declare, 'I will blot out thy transgressions and thy sins;" but its as surance. is, I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me, for I have redeemed thee" (Isa. xliv. 22). Oh, this is good news" indeed! "Good news " of Satan vanquishedgood news "of sin forgiven and forgotten-"good news of present peace with God-"good news" of redemption accomplished-"good news" of salvation finished-" good news" of glory secured. No " ifs" or buts;', no difficulties or contingencies; no driving or doing, all settled, all secure, all finished, eternal life not offered but bestowed. "Blessed the people that know the joyful sound : they shall walk, O Jehovah, in the light of thy countenance. In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy_righteousness shall they be exalted" (Psalm lxxxix. 15, 16). But to them that are without, all these things are done in parables; hearing they hear, but do not understand; and seeing they see, but do not perceive. This Gospel is "foolishness to them that perish (1 Cor. i. 18). It is " hid to them that are lost" (2 Cor. iv. 3). And exerts no more influence upon the carnal natural heart, than the leaven of the parable could have exerted, had it been mixed, not with prepared meal, but with the whole and unbroken grain.
3. And lastly; as the three measures | righteousness" (Dan. ix. 24). And though, of meal were all alike leavened, so the indeed, they saw only in type and shadow parable may teach us, that all true be- what to us is clearly revealed; though lievers from the beginning to the end of they saw afar off, what to us has in time, are alike partakers of the kingdom mercy been brought nigh: yet was the of heaven. We sometimes hear the Old Author, and the object, and the end of Testament dispensation spoken of as if it their faith the same as of ours, and not was altogether different, not only in cir- only of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Sara, and cumstances but in charactar, from the pre- Abraham, but of each and all of them, it sent Christian dispensation: yea, as if may be said, in the language of Paul, under it men had been saved in some These all died in faith, not having retotally different way from that in which ceived the promises, but having seen they must be saved now. This, however, them afar off, and were persuaded of is a monstrous mis-conception. God never them, and embraced them, and confessed had, and never will have but one way of that they were strangers and pilgrims on saving sinners-with the blood of Jesus, the earth" (Heb. xi. 13). though the power of the Spirit, and by It is a truth to be firmly settled in our the instrumentality of his word-this has minds that there is only one way in which been his way from the beginning, and this a fallen creature can be reconciled to shall be his way unto the end. Christi- God When the Lord Jesus says, “I am anity, as we observed in our introductory | the Way-no man cometh unto the Faremarks, nearly two years ago, has existed much longer than eighteen centuries. Abel was a Christian when "by faith" he offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain" (Heb. xi. 4). Enoch was a Christian when he "walked with God," and had "this testimony, that he pleased Him" (Gen. v. 24; Heb. xi. 5, 6). Abraham was a Christian when he "rejoiced to see Christ's day, and saw it, and was glad" (John vii. 56). And Jacob was a Christian, when in prayer he wrestled with the angel-Redeemer (who had "redeemed him from all evil,") and said, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me" (Gen. xxxii. 26; xlviii. 16). And surely, beloved, Job was a Christian when he said, "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth" (Job xix 25). And David, when he prayed, "Behold, O God, our shield, and look upon the face of thine Anointed" (Psal. Ixxxiv. 9). And Isaiah, when he prophesied, "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with his stripes we are healed" (Isaiah li. 5).
When the spiritual Israelite saw the blood of the slain animal poured out upon the altar, think not that he did not look beyond it to that great Sacrifice which alone can atone for sin. When he saw the scape-goat of the law, bearing, in type, all the iniquities of the children of Israel, into the land of forgetfulness, think not that He could not exercise faith in the great antitypical scape-goat, who should finish transgression, aud make an end of sins, and make reconciliation for iniquity, and bring in everlasting
ther but by me " (John xiv. 6); He proclaims a truth of universal application throughout all ages. Had there been any other law that could have given life, "verily righteousness should have been by that law,"-had there been any other sacrifice that could atone for sin, verily Christ would not have died. But "there is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we can be saved," but the name of Jesus Christ. And though we have, both from reason and Scripture, abundant presumptive proof that" man's nature and place is unique, and incapable of repetition in the scheme of the universe," yet might we for a moment suppose another race to be created as Adam's was created, and to fall as Adam's fell, it would (with reverence we say it) be beyond the power of God to save, because He has not another Son to suffer.
But being washed in the same precious blood, and regenerated by the same Spirit, as ourselves, the saints of old are destined also to the same glorious inheritance. We shall, we are told by Him who knew all the secrets of eternity, "sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. viii. 11). All the meal shall be alike leavened all the "sacramental host of God's elect" from Abel to the last vessel of mercy, shall alike be made partakers of Christ, and form part of the "one body, and one bread," which shall at last be presented, like the shew-bread of old, in the presence of God, ever pure, and fresh, and fragrant, and such as his soul shall delight to feed upon. (To be continued.)